BY CHRIS OCHAYI
ABUJA — Over 20 children have lost their lives in various road traffic crashes that occurred in the country during the Christmas celebration.
The management of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, which announced the sad development in Abuja, said, 75 others were injured in the crashes involving 239 children with 144 of them rescued alive by its patrol operatives.
The FRSC’s Corps Public Education Officer, Mr. Jonas Agwu, said the accidents happened between December 19 and 28, 2013.
Disturbed by the spate of road fatalities involving children, the FRSC, according to Agwu, has reiterated the need for all motorists to ensure the safety of children in their vehicles even as the FRSC intensifies its awareness campaigns and patrol activities towards reversing this trend.
The commission has reiterated its warning to parents and other drivers who convey children in their vehicles to ensure that they are appropriately restrained when travelling in a motor vehicle.
He added that children who are under 12 years should be restrained in the rear seats, in line with the provisions of the National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012, because air bags can injure or kill young children travelling in front seats, in the event of a crash.
Agwu said the commission had robust public advocacy, massive deployment of human and material resources and intensified patrol activities since December 19, 2013 which has resulted to a reduction in road crashes and fatalities in the initial five days, 19-23, of the 2013 yuletide special patrol, tagged “Operation Zero Tolerance.”
Consequently, the corps has mandated its commanding officers to intensify enforcement of traffic rules and regulations bothering on child safety during the 2013 yuletide patrols which is slated to end on January 12, 2014.
Additional steps will be taken by FRSC operatives to conduct routine checks on vehicles conveying children to ensure that such children are properly positioned through restraints.